Category Archives: Rush Holt

Video: Rush Holt Town Hall Meeting in Middletown Parts 3 & 4

During video parts 3 & 4 of Rush Holt’s town hall meeting to discuss health reform in Middletown on 8/26/09, Congressman Holt answers questions about tort reform and medicare.

The crowd becomes a little more vocal out of frustration because they feel that Holt is not answering questions. The truth of the matter however, is that Rush Holt is answering questions but the hecklers and boo-birds don’t want to listen to what he has to say.

The nay-sayers in the crowd continue to point to the only bill to come out of committee, HR3200, as reason for the frustration even though Congressman Holt mentioned that there are 4 other bills making their way through the Congress and Senate.

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Filed under health care reform, Medicare, Middletown Cultural Arts Center, Middletown NJ, Rush Holt, tort reform, town hall meeting

Video: Rush Holt Town Hall Meeting in Middletown Parts 1 & 2

As mentioned earlier, I was inside at Rush Holt’s town hall meeting to discuss health care reform last night in Middletown.

I was looking forward to an enjoyable evening of theatrics from the crowd and considering that it could have been much worse, I was only slightly disappointed.

Rush attempted to control the crowd by having attendees write questions on an index card instead of having people come forward to speak from a microphone. This worked well but it did not deter hecklers from shouting out opposition.

I was able able to record the first 57 minutes of the meeting before I ran out of space on my media card, the meeting went on for another 35 to 40 minutes before letting out at 8:40 pm.

Here our the first two parts of video that encompasses the first 20 minutes from last night. The video is raw and a little grainy due to the fact that I was sitting a little far away and only had a 3X zoom on my small video camera, I did not edit anything out of video the events happened as shown and you may or may not hear me arguing with an elderly woman behind me, who was more interested in yapping instead of listening.

I am currently working on 4 more video clips to post later:

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Filed under health care reform, Middletown Cultural Arts Center, Middletown NJ, Rush Holt, town hall meeting

Rush Holt Town Hall Meeting In Middletown Last Night.

I attended Rush Holt’s town hall meeting last night at the Middletown Cultural Arts Center. I arrived shortly after 5 pm to make sure I would be able to get into the building.

It was a lively but respectful crowd outside the building that grew in numbers as the time for the meeting approached.
Shortly after settling down inside an argument broke out between a few attendees and needed to broken up by police, to the credit of Middletown police, they calmed down the situation and allowed the people to stay for the meeting.
My overall impression of the night was that it went rather well, it wasn’t as loud or disrespectful as other town hall events throughout the country have been portrayed, hecklers and boo-birds had plenty of chances to express themselves however.
I am currently working on posting video of the event and hope to have it by the end of the day, I have over an hours worth of video and it takes a while to post. I’ll add additional comments about last nights events after the video is ready.

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Filed under health care reform, Middletown Cultural Arts Center, Rush Holt, town hall meeting

New Corzine Video: The Enemy of the Economic Downturn

The Corzine campaign released a new video this morning featuring leaders from across New Jersey like Cory Booker,Rush Holt,Ray Lesniak, Teresa Ruiz and Dick Codey among others, that highlight Governor Jon Corzine’s leadership on the economy and job creation.

This video marks the begining of a new focus for the campaign, highlighting the positives achievements of Jon Corzine and the direction in which he is steering the State, as opposed to some of the negative attacks, that have been working but which have been taking away from the positve image and light that Jon Corzine wants to project for himself.

This video is a great first step in that direction and well worth watching.

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Filed under Cory Booker, Corzine'09, Dick Cody, economy, Gov. Jon Corzine, Job creation, leadership, New Jersey, Rush Holt

HOLT SUPPORTS HOUSE HEALTH CARE REFORM PROPOSAL IN COMMITTEE; PLEDGES TO IMPROVE BILL AS PROCESS CONTINUES


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2009

As Member of House Committee on Education and Labor, Holt Works to Strengthen Public Option, Small Business and Health Care Employment Training

(Washington, DC) – Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today voted for – in the House Committee on Education and Labor – the America’s Affordable Health Choice Act, legislation introduced in the House, with the intention of extending coverage to all Americans, improving the quality of care, expanding preventative care, and reducing the health care costs that Americans pay. The reform proposal would build on the existing system, so that if people are happy with the insurance they have, they can keep it. While helping to pass the bill in Committee, Holt noted that this is an intermediate step in the legislative process and that he wants to continue to improve the bill, strengthening the parts providing for a public option, small business benefits, and training for health care workers.

In June, Holt hosted a group of Central New Jersey primary care and patient advocates in Washington to hear their experiences on the front-line of health care and meet with leaders in health reform. For example, a pediatrician shared her story that primary care providers like her are struggling to see more patients, while receiving lower payments from insurance companies for her primary care services. On Monday, Holt held a roundtable at the Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton. Participants included small business owners, patient advocates, health care providers, doctors and nurses.

“We no longer can accept the status quo. I believe this year we will reform our broken health care system, but I know this will not be easy,” Holt said. “Since Teddy Roosevelt was President, the Congress has tried to pass universal health reform. However, with Presidential leadership, a supportive Congress, and an American public that understands what is at stake, the table is set for historic reform. As primary care providers and patients from Central New Jersey have told me, we must fix our health care system to keep individuals healthy, prevent diseases, and provide health security for all Americans. Today we have taken an important, though not final, step.”

A summary of the legislation can be found at http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BILLSUMMARY-071409.pdf.

In supporting the bill in Committee, Holt highlighted two features: creating a public health insurance plan and increasing the resources devoted to primary care. Holt argued that a public health insurance plan needs to be included to lower costs and improve health care delivery. In addition to increasing competition, Holt said, a public plan would provide a way to inject innovative strategies to deliver higher-quality and lower-cost health care, such as encouraging integrated medical care and increasing primary care. Holt also noted that the legislation includes several proposals to improve primary care by increasing the workforce and enlarging community health centers.

“In 2009, health care spending is projected to reach $8,160 per person, an amount sufficient to provide excellent care for everyone, yet 46 million Americans lack insurance and millions more have coverage that doesn’t meet their needs. Without health reform, businesses’ costs will continue to increase, families’ out-of-pocket costs will rise, and American workers will not receive the health care they need,” Holt said.

In addition to these provisions, Holt succeeded in adding two amendments to the legislation. One amendment would provide additional job training in order to expand the health care workforce. The White House Council on Economic Advisors released a report this week noting that the number of health care practitioner jobs, such as physicians and nurse practitioners, will grow by 35 percent between 2000 and 2016. Demand for health care support occupations, including medical records and health information technicians, clinical laboratory technicians, and physical therapists are expected to increase by 48 percent.

The bill would creates a competitive National Health Workforce Online Training Grant program for universities, community colleges, non-profits, workforce investment boards, and others to increase the number of online training programs for individuals seeking health care jobs. Grant recipients would be required to reach out to workforce investment boards, local governments, educational institutions, and other workforce training organizations to disseminate their knowledge. The bill also would establish an online health professions training program clearinghouse, which would collect and nationally disseminate the best practices learned by grantees.

The online job program would support programs similar to one offered by Rutgers University and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The Director of the Rutgers Center for Women and Work, Dr. Eileen Applebalum, and Assistant Professor and Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Mary Gatta commended Holt for including the amendment.

“As so much research, including our own, has demonstrated online learning provides significant benefits and advantages to dislocated and incumbent workers in developing and expanding their skills to compete in our economy,” Appelbaum and Gatta wrote in a letter. “Online learning provides accessible, flexible, cost-effective, and most-up-to date training. This is particularly important in the healthcare fields, as there are significant shortages of skilled workers in several fields, and existing workers must ensure that their skills are compatible with job demands.”

Another amendment, which Holt cosponsored with Subcommittee Chair Rob Andrews and Reps. Phil Hare and Donald Payne would create small employer benefit arrangements (SEBAs), which provide a new way for affiliated small businesses to join together to offer health insurance and other benefits to their employees.

Holt first learned about SEBAs from Wilson H. Beebe, Jr., Chairman, the Alliance for Employee Benefit Cooperatives and Executive Director, New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association. Beebe regonized the work of Holt and others for including the amendment in the legislation.

“We appreciate all of their hard work and are lucky to have such effective legislators representing us in Washington,” Beebe said. “Self-governed SEBAs will assist small businesses in taking advantage of the opportunities provided by national health reform. By allowing SEBAs to negotiate premium and plan design on the basis of occupational demographics and administrative economies of scale, we expect to further reduce premium costs. Moreover, we can provide professional evaluation of the plan options available in the market-place suitable to our membership and workforce.”

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Filed under House Committee on Education and Labor, insurance premiums, New Jersey.small business, Rush Holt, The America’s Affordable Health Choice Act

Rep. Holt discusses economic recovery efforts on Comcast Local Edition

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Filed under Comcast Local Edition, Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, Economic Stimulus Package, Rush Holt

HOLT SUPPORTS AMERICAN CLEAN ENERGY AND SECURITY ACT

Press Release-

(Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today supported H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which the House passed today. Below is his floor remarks.

I rise today in support of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

For years, the consensus in the scientific community has been that the release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere is altering the Earth’s climate in ways that are expensive and deadly. This is one of the principle subjects I have spoken about and worked on for decades—before and since I first ran for office—and it is one of the reasons, I believe that my constituents sent me to Congress.

Today the House of Representatives at last is taking sweeping action to cap greenhouse gas emissions, promote the production of renewable energy, and make our homes, cars, and businesses more energy efficient. This legislation would require that we reduce our carbon emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. It would implement a Renewable Electricity Standard that would require electric utilities to provide 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. It would make historic investments new clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, including energy efficiency and renewable energy, carbon capture and sequestration, electric and other advanced technology vehicles, and research and development. These provisions would help to slow the rate of global warming and preserve our environment for future generations. Further, a recent report from the Center for American Progress estimates that these provisions would help to create 1.7 million new, high skilled clean energy jobs over the next decade.

Opponents of this bill have argued that it would cost American families over $500 a year in additional energy costs. While it is true that there would be increases in the cost of energy, this bill would return almost 50 percent of the proceeds from the cap-and-trade auction to consumers. In my home state of New Jersey, families who currently pay $100 on their monthly energy bill would see their bill increase by less than $3 a month. If you include the savings that would come through the energy efficiency provisions in this legislation American families could save $4,000 by 2030 on their energy bills.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in New Jersey climate change has caused temperatures to be 4 degrees warmer than they were in 1970. Over the past century precipitation has increased by 5 percent and severe weather incidents have increased by 12-20 percent, and sea level along our coast is increasing .14 inches a year. It is worth devoting some money and effort to slow the devastating climate change is having on our state.

I am pleased that several provisions that I wrote were included in this bill. I worked with Rep. George Miller and Rep. Jerry McNerney authorize the WaterSense program that would help consumers identify water efficient products. Water efficiency saves energy by reducing the amount of energy used to heat, transport, and clean water. The savings are substantial and real. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if only one out of every 100 American homes retrofitted their homes with water-efficient fixtures, we would save 100 GWh of electricity, enough energy to power more than 9,000 homes for an entire year, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80,000 tons.

Rep. Jared Polis and I wrote a provision that would require the Departments of Energy, Labor and Education to compile an online database for a renewable energy curriculum that would be easily accessible to community colleges, vocational schools and universities looking to create training programs but lacking local or technical expertise. The transformation to a clean energy future will require a trained workforce and our amendment would ensure that these communities, whether in rural Wyoming or urban Pittsburg, have easy access to green jobs training in new energy and new manufacturing sectors so they can prosper in a new energy economy.

Read More >>>Here

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Filed under American Clean Energy and Security Act, press release, renewable energy, Rush Holt

Middletown GOP, Once Again Taking Where None Is Due.

Once again members of the Middletown GOP are trying to take credit for other peoples efforts. Mayor Brightbill, her buddy Gerry and other members of the ruling party in Middletown want to mislead the public into believing that they had something to do with a $610,000 windfall made available to the township through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program by writing “letters to the editor” squawking about how brilliant and insightful the Middletown Republicans are, which in reality is utter nonsense.

These letters are a clear fabrication and blatant attempt to deceive the public by deflecting attention away from the fact the Middletown Republicans are planning to raise the municipal tax rate for the 4th time in 4 years. This current rate increase, as it stands now of 9.2%, would bring the total rate increase to 25% during this 4-year period.

A letter written by GOP supporter Peter VanNortwick, which appeared in various local publications, congratulated Mayor Brightbill and Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger for securing a $610,000 U.S. Department of Energy grant even though they knew nothing about it. The Mayor and her deputy, admitted as much at the Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting that took place on March 26th.

When a subsequent letter writer of the democratic persuasion pointed out the real story behind the grant, that it was New Jersey’s very own Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez who created the EECBG program back in 2007 (The Program was authorized in Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), and signed into Public Law (PL 110-140) on December 19, 2007. The program however remained unfunded until The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $3.2 billion for it) and that these funds were granted to over 60 towns, 10 counties and the state itself. The letter writer also added that the township didn’t apply for these funds in advance.

The writer then concluded, “This is typical of how the Republican Party has been operating for years. They will take credit for something that they had no idea about to make people think that they are doing a service for the public. It is too bad that they feel the need to hide behind such lies. I hope this author will think hard when trying to give credit to someone that does not deserve it.”

OUCH!

Not to be outdone, Monmouth County Republican Committeeman (and local GOP tool) Michael Vitkansas, wrote a reply in which he started off by disparaging democrats and then stated, “the township administrator had just received word that Middletown had gotten a $610,000 grant for money-saving energy programs in Middletown. The Township Committee was told about the award at that meeting. Director of Planning Jason Greenspan went on to explain how Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger and he had discussed the merits of applying for the grant back in 2008 and decided that they should give it a try.”

Mr. Vitkansas, in his partisan, republican zeal, unfortunately did not get the facts straight.

While Mr. Vitkansas was correct in stating that the township committee had just heard the good news from the Township Administrator about the grant, he failed to mention that the Administrator and the Director of Planning were totally unaware of the windfall until a reporter called questioning what the township had in mind for the grant, just before the neighborhood meeting started.

As it also turns out, his statement also turns out to be false because the Director of Planning, Jason Greenspan, could not have talked about this particular grant before because the EECBG program, even though it was created in 2007, is new and was never funded before this year. Jason Greenspan might have applied for something, but it could not have been for this program. As Gerry Scharfenberger mentioned at the meeting, they apply for so many grants, it is hard to say what they apply for. They just roll the dice by applying for everything, as they should, and hope something comes their way.

If you don’t believe what I have written then listen for yourself, the following audio clip is from the March 26th Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting. You can clearly hear Mayor Pam and Deputy Gerry saying it themselves.

Read the Robert Menendez press release announcing the funding >>> Here

Read the Rush Holt press release announcing the amount Monmouth County and Middletown will be receiving >>> Here

To read about the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program 

click >>> Here

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Filed under Bayshore Neighborhood Meeting, Gerry Scharfenberger, Michael Vitkansas, Middletown GOP, Pamela Brightbill, Peter VanNortwick, republican supporters, Rush Holt, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

HOLT ANNOUNCES ECONOMIC RECOVERY ENERGY GRANTS FOR MONMOUTH COUNTY: Middletown To Receive $610,300

Press Release

Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today announced that Monmouth County and the townships of Manalapan, Marlboro, and Middletown will receive energy grants through the economic recovery bill that Congress passed and President Obama signed last month. The funding comes from Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, which supports efforts to reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions and to improvement energy efficiency. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides governments throughout the state with $75.4 million for the program, including $14.4 million for the State of New Jersey.

Contingent on completing an application to the Department of Energy, Monmouth County will receive $4.2 million, Manalapan will receive $155,300, Marlboro will receive $162,300, and Middletown will receive $610,300.

“The recovery bill is designed not only to create jobs the short term, but also to support efforts to sustain economic growth into the future. Clearly, our economy benefits if we become more energy efficient,” Holt said. “I’m pleased this money is being made available to local communities so quickly.”

According to the Department of Energy, among the initiatives supported by grant funding are:
• Financial Incentive Programs and Mechanisms for energy efficiency improvements such as energy savings performance contracting, on-bill financing, and revolving loan funds.
• Grants to nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies for the purpose of performing Energy Efficiency Retrofits.
• Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs for Buildings and Facilities.
• Development and Implementation of Transportation Programs to conserve energy.
• Energy Distribution Technologies that significantly increase energy efficiency, including distributed resources, combined heat and power, and district heating and cooling systems.
• Material Conservation Programs including source reduction, recycling, and recycled content procurement programs that lead to increases in energy efficiency.
• Energy efficient Traffic Signals and Street Lighting.
• Renewable Energy Technologies on Government Buildings.

In other economic recovery news, the Department of Health and Human Services announced today that the Monmouth Family Health Center in Long Branch will receive $100,000 to expand its services to the community.

For a related post, see Pat Walsh’s  MiddletownMusings

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Filed under energey grants, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, Middletown, Monmouth County, President Obama, Rush Holt

Middletown To Receive $31,927 Justice Assistance Grant

According to a press released issued by Congressman Rush Holt,  Middletown will be  able to receive $31,927 from the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program, which supports law enforcement, prosecution and courts, prevention and education, corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, technology improvement programs, and victim and witness assistance.

The grant program is a result of the economic recovery bill that Congress passed and President Obama signed last month. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides New Jersey with $29.7 million for law enforcement programs and activities and nearly $18 million in direct funding for local law enforcement agencies.
In order to receive this funding, Middletown needs to complete an application to the Department of Justice first. 
There is no mention in the press release about how long it would be after the application is submitted before before these funds would be available.
It would be nice if this grant would be available to Middletown before the end of the still on going budget process.  Every little bit of funding will help, so I hope that the powers that be have already started the application process.  

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Filed under American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, Central New Jersey, law enforcement grant, Middletown, President Obama, Rush Holt, township budget